Who has the right of way in the traffic pattern?

2022-09-23T18:20:23-05:00September 23rd, 2022|

The problem with the right-of-way rules is that they not only rely on each aircraft being aware of the other but also that at least one of them is going to take appropriate avoiding action.  Whomever has the right of way is essentially irrelevant if either pilot is unaware of the other traffic, and even if you think you have the right of way do you really want to rely on the other pilot to do the right thing? 

What is RAIM prediction and when do I need to use it?

2022-08-14T18:44:00-05:00August 14th, 2022|

Receiver autonomous integrity monitoring (RAIM) continuously monitors and compares signals from multiple satellites to ensure GPS signal accuracy. When you fly IFR using a non-WAAS GPS as your primary navigation system you are required to do a RAIM prediction check for your route before each flight. If RAIM is predicted to be unavailable, you must use other navigation systems or delay or cancel your flight.

Can you fly a straight-in approach at a non-towered airport?

2022-06-27T08:28:56-05:00June 27th, 2022|

There are in fact no regulations prohibiting straight-in approaches at non-towered airports because the FAA does not regulate pattern entry procedures. However, just like any other approach to an airport environment, pilots executing a straight-in approach should not disrupt the flow of other traffic arriving at and departing from the airport. 

What is the difference between ASOS and AWOS?

2022-04-22T10:54:31-05:00April 22nd, 2022|

Some airports don’t have any weather reporting but the ones that do have various types of AWOS or ASOS. These systems differ by level of sophistication and therefore usefulness to pilots. They range in price from $20,000 to $100,000 which is prohibitive for many smaller and privately owned airports.

What is the difference between currency and proficiency?

2022-02-21T15:24:58-06:00February 21st, 2022|

To exercise the privileges of a pilot certificate pilots must meet the FAA standards for both currency and proficiency. Currency means recent flight experience and proficiency is the level of expertise. FAA private pilot currency requirements are described in 14 CFR §61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command. At least once every 24 calendar months pilots are required to have their knowledge and skills evaluated by an authorized instructor to ensure they are maintaining their proficiency and this is called a flight review - 14 CFR §61.56 Flight Review.

How does density altitude affect aircraft performance in the traffic pattern in winter?

2022-01-26T09:17:52-06:00January 26th, 2022|

Increased performance due to colder than standard temperature is a good thing, but it can take inexperienced pilots by surprise when the airplane leaps off the runway in less than 400 feet and reaches traffic pattern altitude with alarming efficiency! Better performance changes a few things that might come as a surprise to students and newer pilots. In addition to a shockingly shorter takeoff roll, climb performance will also be greatly improved in colder temps. So how does all this affect aircraft in the traffic pattern? The first factor is that when your takeoff ground roll is shorter, your climb out begins sooner. Combined with a much steeper rate of climb, you will reach the point of turning crosswind (300 feet below traffic pattern altitude) in a shorter distance than usual. When you make your turn to downwind you might find yourself already pretty close to the midfield downwind position. Because you covered less distance in the upwind leg, there will be a shorter distance than you might normally expect in the downwind leg. 

What happened to the Rockford VOR?

2021-11-01T09:55:55-05:00November 1st, 2021|

The RFD VOR was deactivated on October 7, 2021, as part of an FAA plan to discontinue 307 VORs across the U.S. national airspace by 2030. For more information and a complete list of VORs targeted for discontinuance go to this web page: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/techops/navservices/gbng/vormon/

What does the phrase “clear of the active” mean at a non-towered airport?

2021-11-01T09:50:45-05:00October 27th, 2021|

The phrase “clear of the active” at non-towered airports is totally meaningless because all runways are potentially active. Just because you don’t see anyone else using other runways at any given moment doesn’t mean they are not active. You won’t find the phrase “clear of the active” mentioned anywhere in the FAA Pilot/Controller glossary and it is not sanctioned by the FAA.

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